Community honors heroes at Flight 93 Memorial in Union City

It’s been 22 years, but their names, their sacrifice and their stories still stand at a Union City memorial and in our hearts.

“I went to New York a month after it happened, I went to Manhattan, I saw the devastation,” said David Baltazar of Union City. “I could still smell smoke.”

He and others walked along the names of the 40 passengers on Flight 93 on Monday.

Those heroes were headed for San Francisco when their plane was hijacked during America’s worst act of terrorism.

“I just want to say thank you to each of them for their bravery, this is actually the plane that actually realized what was going on and decided to take action,” said Lee Ann Williamson of Union City. 

Captain Dahl was the pilot on Flight 93. It crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania as the passengers and crew prevented the hijackers from crashing the plane into another American landmark.

Dahl was a student at a San Jose school named after him in 2002.

Another hero the country and the Bay Area will always remember San Francisco native, Betty Ong.

“It was because of Betty Ong’s call, 23 minutes on the phone, explaining where the terrorists were and what was going on, that saved America in many ways because after her call that’s when America shut down the airspace,” said Reverend Norman Fong.

She was a flight attendant that wasn’t supposed to be on duty the day of the attack. However, she asked to be put on Flight 11 to be back in time to vacation with her sister. 

When her family realized what was happening, they called Reverend Fong, a family friend, to pray.

“We thank God for her life as a Chinatown kid, being a role model for a lot of people,” said Fong.

The 911 commission recognized her as an American hero years after the attack.

And with Reverend Fong’s help, a San Francisco recreation center now holds her name high, for everyone to see.